Harsh Domestic Violence Laws Recall Jim Crow
Misty Ospina was dropping off her eight-month-old
child at Richard Gibsons apartment when the
two fell into an argument. Suddenly Ospina, jealous
over Gibsons new girlfriend, grabbed a
kitchen knife and stabbed her ex.
An hour later the 22-year-old father was
pronounced dead at Rhode Island Memorial Hospital.
Police have charged Ospina with first-degree
Its no secret that our nations
crusade to stop domestic violence has been a
magnificent flop. Researchers have been saying that
Three years ago professor William Wells of
Southern Illinois University did a comprehensive
analysis of domestic violence programs in
California. There was no statistically
significant relationship between any criminal
justice system response and victimization for
either gender or for any racial or ethnic
group, he concluded.
Even government bureaucrats see no point in
whitewashing the truth. We have no evidence
to date that VAWA [Violence Against Women
Act] has led to a decrease in the overall
levels of violence against women, writes
Angela Parmley, PhD, acting chief at the National
Institute of Research in the Department of
But while abuse prevention programs are simply
ineffective in middle-class families, these
nanny-state efforts have been a colossal failure in
Domestic violence is caused when a couple
cant resolve its differences in an amicable
manner, so they resort to physical aggression. And
recent research by Daniel Whitaker from the U.S.
Centers for Disease Control reveals its often
the lady who strikes the first blow.
The problem is domestic abuse programs invest
heavily in get-tough law enforcement measures,
while ignoring the offenders mental health
and drug addiction needs.
Take Misty Ospina who had a well-known
proclivity to violence. Richard Gibsons
mother had warned him months before to leave Ospina
or else You could end up hurt or dead.
So why didnt someone dispatch her to a
domestic violence counseling program?
The reason is these programs are little more
than thought reform classes informed by radical
feminist ideology. Browbeating Ospina to give up
her patriarchal need for power likely would not
have helped her overcome that jealous rage.
And no surprise, studies show counseling
programs based on the Duluth approach dont
work. Recent evaluations using more rigorous
designs have found little or no reduction in
battering, reveals Peggy Grauwiler, a social
worker at New York University
But while counseling programs based on gender
ideology have been merely ineffective, intrusive
law enforcement programs are downright
Last year Harvard University economist Radha
Iyengar released a milestone study on mandatory
arrest laws for partner violence. She found that
after these laws were enacted, partner homicide
rates shot up by more than a half.
Why? Because in most cases victims want the
police to simply defuse the conflict, not
incarcerate the aggressor. So victims stop calling
for help, Iyengar believes. The conflict escalates,
and someone yanks a knife from the drawer.
According to FBI statistics, some 300,000
African-Americans, mostly men, are arrested each
year for partner aggression. In low-income
communities, thats not just a statistic,
its a prescription for financial ruin as
families suddenly find themselves without a
Throw the guy in jail, let the prosecutor
sort things out, seems to be the prevailing
attitude, even when the woman is the primary
The problem has gotten so out-of-hand that Aya
Gruber, writing in the Iowa Law Review, revealed a
modern-day incarnation of harsh Jim Crow policies:
Day after day, prosecutors proceeded with
cases against the wishes of victims, resulting in
the mass incarceration of young black
The long-term effects of arrest policies that
set aside constitutional considerations of probable
cause are devastating. Last year the Institute for
American Values reported that young Blacks may be
losing hope that a good marriage is
attainable. As a result, fatherless
African-American children are vulnerable to
delinquency, teen pregnancy, and economic
At a February 8 vigil, Pawtucket mayor James
Doyle joined family members and community activists
who gathered to mourn the death of Richard Gibson,
a man who had once dreamed of getting his G.E.D.
and becoming a rapper. Sister Eulanda LaFrance
lamented, Now Im a victim of domestic
violence. Now I have two little girls without a
mommy or a daddy.
Women like Misty Ospina can be helped. And
tragedies like Richard Gibson are avoidable. But
first well have to get the ideology-bound
domestic violence industry to mend its ways.
© 2008, Carey Roberts
Roberts probes and lampoons political correctness.
His work has been published frequently in the
Washington Times, Townhall.com, LewRockwell.com,
ifeminists.net, Intellectual Conservative, and
elsewhere. He is a staff reporter for the New Media
Network. You can contact him at E-Mail
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